Don’t settle for a playground

Einar W. Høst

Lightning talk

The software industry seems to have agreed that team autonomy is a good thing, much like agile. Unfortunately, it seems to be doing some strange things with that autonomy - again, much like agile. Instead of creating self-governing and self-sufficient teams with responsibility for business goals and outcomes, we are erecting tiny playgrounds, isolated sandboxes, where the teams focus on best practices for software delivery, safely boarded up by OKRs to provide the illusion that some external leadership is still in control of the whole endeavour, not to worry. Why are we doing this? Why are we repeating the mistake of decoupling our so-called product development teams from the reality of the business? Why do we allow the cord of feedback to be broken? Why do teams still live on a plane of existence separate from where strategic plans and priorities are made, negotiations happen, money is allocated, teams put together? If these vital activities are meant to be outside the realm of influence for the teams, we might as well drop the charade. The autonomy of the playground is by definition insignificant and irrelevant to the business. We don’t need it. We don’t need more theatre.